Weird things found in old houses

ideagirl2February 21, 2011

So I went on a basement rampage this weekend, donning full hazmat gear to start really cleaning the basement, especially the walls, so I could repaint and have it stop feeling like a habitat for spiders and zombies. And what did I find?

Well, naturally, on top of an HVAC duct, 7+ feet off the floor and covered in 3/8" of grime, I found a record released by the Columbia Graphophone Company in 1915, featuring humorous stories told by a long-forgotten Vaudeville star. Wow! I can't play it, because it's a 78 and it's not in the best of shape, but that's what Google tells me the content is.

What weird finds have you come across?

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My first house was a house built in the 30's that we bought in 1998 from an old lady who owned it since the mid-50s and raised her family in it, etc. She was in hospice when we bought it, so we essentially got it with 40 years worth of stuff in it...the only things the family took were a few pcs of furniture with sentimental meaning.

Oh, the treasures we found!

- tons of old magazines from the 50's and 60's. Not worth anything but were real fun to look thru.

- in an cabinet in the workshop, a 1936 Emerson tombstone amazing condition. I restored the outside, and had the inside gone over by a guy who specializes in old radios and it looks and plays great. I still have it in my livingroom, got lots of comments on it.

- a box of 500 "Ben Casey" bracelets..with the symbols shown in the beginning of the old TV show (it was on in the 50's, he was a doctor). These were some sort of giveaway for the husband's work, he was an insurance salesman. We used to give them out in goodie bags for our kids b-day some real strange looks - lol!

- in a crawlspace in the cellar, well hidden, about 50 old liquor bottles...I'm thinking the hubby, who had passed in the 80's (or who knows maybe the wife) might have had a little drinking habit he was keeping a secret.

- and of course (and I knew this was gonna happen) the detached workshop...the "porn stash"....all from the 50s and 60's...playboys and other magazines. I felt bad, like I was violating his privacy or something (I'm a guy, btw...) Trust me, when you move into a house that has 40 years worth of stuff in it, you tend to almost feel like you "know" the people that lived there. Come to think of it, since his "stash" was in the workshop, I'm thinking the liquor bottles were probably the wife's, since they were below the kitchen. I guess maybe that's why he needed the porn stash, she was too drunk to be any fun. Or maybe that's why she drank...he was always "out in the workshop doing his stuff" - LOL!

There were lots of other finds, but those are the ones that come to mind...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Wow! Actually, I bet you could've sold the porn stash for a decent sum on eBay or somewhere.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 12:02PM
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My wife and I have only lived in our house since last May, but I've yet to find anything of much interest. We've got a very nice open basement with no crawlspaces and an attic that was converted to living space (presumably in the 1970s). I've looked through what little attic is left, but only found old crummy insulation and newpaper clippings from the mid-1990s.

As an avid record collector I'd love to find some crazy records (even 78s) from the house's past. As a bourbon lover I'd love to find some old liquor. (If you're looking to dispose of any old liquor - esp. whiskey - I'd love to try something from 30+ years ago.)

Unfortunately it looks like I won't be making any discoveries myself, but the house itself really is enough discovery for me. I love spotting the little details that I've missed in the past.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 1:41PM
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Boston Herald newspaper with pictures of Adolf Hitler after moving into Austria.

Also some front pages with articles on a Curley race for Boston mayor.

Curley was in federal prison when he was elected.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:13PM
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When excavating for a new house, we nipped the side of a cache of 19th Century glass bottles. I was told they were probably at the bottom of an old latrine pit.. That was after I plucked out a few of the bottles and decided the effort of cleaning them wasn't worth it.

Further excavation revealed our new home was built on the site of a 19th Century barnyard and animal pen. The air was ripe with the odour of manure and littered with old bricks that farmers used to throw down to give the animals some traction in the mud. Having been raised for five years in rural Ohio, the odour was more nostalgic than annoying.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:21PM
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Well, Worthy, it sounds like you were the right person for that building site! You know how some people move out to the country and then complain about the smell of manure? You are not that person.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:43PM
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Roger, I guess I forgot to mention, the bottles were empty unfortunately :-(

I think that's where he/she stashed the evidence....

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Worthy - sad to hear that they weren't 'worthy' of recovery. I've got some buddies that collect old beer bottles. They can be worth a pretty penny in good condition (for early 1900s bottles), but more than that they're an interesting piece of history. I'm a big fan of the Cincinnati ones that have been recovered in Cincy's underground lagering caves that have been recently been rediscovered. I don't collect them myself, but I do have a few bottles of Cincinnati's Little King's Cream Ale from the 1970's that I love (as a beer nerd and history lover).

mkroopy - Like the old glass bottles, old liquor bottles are pretty cool. They're (generally) not worth more than the liquid they hold, but are fun to display (especially at a bar in an old home imho). I've got a few decanters from the now defunct Stitzel-Weller distillery that I enjoy for the history.

I don't know. I geek out over little mundane pieces of history like this, but I think it gives us a better idea of what life was like back then.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:12PM
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A human kneecap.

In the detached garage.


    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Mummified squirrel in attic
a empty bottle of formaldahyde. (Not sure that spelling is correct)
Large animal bones scattered thru the back yard.
Someones pot stash in a coffee can in the basement that had the remains of a dead mouse in it too. Thing was the lid was in good condition so he didn't chew his way in or out. We're guessing someone put it in there to sour who ever pot stash it was from using it.
Concrete slab/foundation with chains attached under a layer of dirt in the back. We think it was a house for calves meant to become veal since the place had been a dairy farm.
Those are just the weird ones I remember off the top of my head.
The ones I've enjoyed the most are the ones we found in the yard that the Indians left behind when they used the site as a camp ground. I've found ax heads made of stone you can still see where the leather wore against the stone, scraping tools you can see where the hand held the piece it's worn away, sinkers that were used to hold fishing nets in the water and my favorite a stone that had been worn as part of a necklace, again you can see where the leather wore against the stone over the years.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 8:18PM
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Little bit of everything and still finding them as we dig, or the earth spits more forth.

In the crawlspaces an old McCoy pitcher, under the boards of the kitchen floor we had to tear up to replace the floor beams, an old medicine bottle I know went out of production in 1861. Old coins here and there outside like a two cent piece. Parts of old plaster doll babies. A three tine, bone-handled fork. Old push cultivator. Head off a pitcher pump. Numerous hand-forged square nails. An old salt shaker. Teeth off a cultivator. An ancient file. Wooden pegs from beam construction. Wood shakes under the slate roof. An old hay hoist. Many shards of old pottery. Caches of old brick where it was made on site in the 1820s.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 9:58AM
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A human kneecap.

"And the kneebone's connected to the ...."

No call to the authorities, eh? Too complicated to explain. Next thing you know, they'll be poking around everywhere. Can't have that.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 12:15PM
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We had the FBI at our door one cold morning a few years ago asking if they could search the property. Seems the owner of the business next door to our property had his wife come among the missing. The FBI suspected he may have killed her and buried the body near where he worked.
Now that's a knock at the door that can send shivers up your spine!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 2:42PM
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    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 4:15PM
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A container of chicken salad left in an upstairs room - in July! along with the personal belongings of a homeless person, all very neatly stacked. A few days after we bought the place, an older homeless man was found dead & the clothes, etc were believed to have been his. Other than that, we found a brick patio under 9" of soil but nothing that can come close to a kneecap.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 5:13PM
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worthy...........the man in question was tried and found guilty even tho his wife's body was never recovered. He's appealing the verdict.
Our area is very rural. Lots of old farms, undeveloped land, plenty of ponds and lakes. He could have dumped her body almost anywhere in the county.
Apparently the jury felt there was enough evidence pointing to him they convicted him.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2011 at 6:26PM
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Wow...a kneecap tops my "porn stash" for sure. How the heck did you figure out it was a human kneecap?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 11:31AM
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In one house, which was built in the early 1700s, an original door latch (both the inside and outside pieces) mounted on a piece of plywood and carefully labeled; this was apparently done by the gentlemen who renovated the house in the 1950s. They also left an old lantern and an old iron kettle. These things had been left in a shed, along with a lot of miscellaneous junk, like pieces of wood and roof shingles. The men also left some before-and-after photos of their renovation, probably purposefully. When we moved, we forgot to leave the photos behind. I drove by the house several years later, out of curiosity, to discover that the then-current owners were in the process of "renovating" the house in a way that eventually completely destroyed its look and charm. Think 1990s glitz glamour and showing off meets the 1700s. Needless to say, we still have the photos.

In another house, bits of old newspapers that had been used to insulate the house. Some fun reading there.

In this house, a few bits of old pottery. We haven't searched the property for anything, but this was the original farmhouse in the area so there must be stuff out there. The former owners left the original deed, so that's cool.

Some of the most interesting found stuff that I've come across, although not in my house, was in the village in which the first house was. I got to chatting with a guy who was renovating his house. He'd found MANY small bottles heaped between the inner and outer walls of a room. They were "tonics" from the 1800s or maybe early 1900s, and the story was that a crazy woman had lived in the house. She presumably was dosing herself with the tonics, which may well have contained opium or some form of it, maybe cocaine. He gave me a few bottles, one with its original box. One of the bottles still had a cork in it, and you could see dried out white bits adhered to the inside of the bottle. I think we sold the bottles several years ago.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:50PM
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As for that kneecap. I considered calling the authorities, however a) it's obviously REALLY old for one thing and appeared to have been there for many, many years
and b) yes - the thought of them tearing up my garage to possibly dig UNDER it did kind of worry me. Or even them having to scour through the house/basement, whatever. It was out in the open, just sitting on a shelf. I think the guy before us somehow got hold of it as some kind of collection piece, an oddity of sorts and forgot about it through the years. He hadn't been living in the house at all when we purchased it for a while, and in fact we had to beg someone to come in and get rid of things before we moved in (he himself, was ill and couldn't do it).

So, yes there is a little part of me which feels like I should report it but the rational side of me looks at it (as do others) and thinks it just looks to ancient to be of any use even *if* it was from some sort of nefarious reason.

It's in our home office right now. My BF finds it interesting and I try to ignore it as much as possible :p

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:25PM
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Mkroopy - sorry didn't see your question.

If you know anything about anatomy it's pretty clear what it is.

Plus - my brother in law is a surgeon. That helped clinch it :D

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:27PM
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I went exploring in the basement today. All I found was the mouse stash of dog food in between a two layer brick wall. Totally unreachable. If I keep feeding them, they'll never leave!!!

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 5:58PM
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ashley get some mouse traps. They aren't that hard to set and they will reduce the rodent population. I prefer the beige plastic ones they make. Very easy to set and empty. Given the kinds of problems mice can create inside a house you really want to kill as many as you can.
If you feel guilty about killing them do what I do. Recycle them. We have a tree stump in the yard that I put all the dead mice on. I've never have one last more than a day before another creature walked off with it. I know it sounds kinda weird BUT I had to justify my killing "the cute mice" to the grandkids. They were accepting of the idea of Grandma killing mice if it met others would live because we recycled the dead ones!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Recycling dead mice...Love It! How green can you get?!?! LOL!!

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 5:05PM
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Where mrs. worthy hails from it's not unusual to find old human remains on one's property from unmarked burials. (And it's not even New Jersey.)

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 8:43PM
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Believe me - we have traps. The mice manage to eat the bait from them no matter what we use (cheese whiz, peanut butter, cat food, etc).

Poison isn't an option because of our pets (and I'm not keen on them dying slowly and painfully).

We did get one today...I found one in the kitchen cupboard and the cat jumped in after it. I couldn't stand seeing how stressed it was when the cat was just tormenting it slowly to death so I had boyfriend do the deed.


    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 11:50PM
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In an older remuddled home I owned years ago, I found a blind wall in the partly finished cellar. It had been paneled, and the paneling was held in place by cleverly concealed magnetic cabinet catches. I had never suspected anything. The only reason I found it was that I was removing all the old paneling.

The PO had been something of a survivalist, and that's where he'd hidden his stash. It included case after case of ancient C-rations and other preserved food. Several of the cans were swelling and leaking. No wonder we'd had trouble with mice in that cellar.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 5:47AM
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This isn't unusual, but I found a few thousand straight razors in the wall of my bathroom... what was unusual (and scary) was how I found them... the subfloor and bottom plate had rotted... I was poking around in the basement, ripped a hunk of wood and down they came on to me in a shower... fortunately I had a hat, long sleeves, gloves, mask, etc, so no cuts...

I also found a nearly complete copy of "The Boston Traveler" newspaper, March 2, 1950.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:10AM
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...this is reminding me...

When we tore up the kitchen we found a couple of circa 1970s baseball cards and a bunch of 5c coupons from the 60s wedged behind the chair rail...

...and one of those pens with a picture of a lady in swimwear that removes the clothes when you tip it upside down...

My adult nephew was giving me a hand one day on the project, I showed him the pen, he tipped it back and forth a few times, and then handed it back and said "I think I broke it"... and I'll be damned the bugger broke it so they are stuck with their swimsuits on :-P

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:16AM
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I found a few thousand straight razors in the wall of my bathroom... they came on to me in a shower

I hate when that happens!

Cutting words.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 9:54AM
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"This isn't unusual, but I found a few thousand straight razors in the wall of my bathroom... "

Old bathroom medicine cabinets had a slot in the back to dispose of double edged razor blades.

The blades just piled up in the stud cavity and slowly rusted if their was any moisture.

Old straight razors they have a handle and a pivoting blade (the blade edge folds partly in to the handle for protection of the edge) are actually worth money, unlike the double edged disposable blades.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 12:07PM
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That's so neat, brickeyee!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 1:32PM
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I don't know that this is "weird", but we were a little spooked when we first uncovered it...
We were deconstructing the poorly finished half story a few years ago and there was this fiberboard covering the walls. DH was tearing it out of one of the bedrooms and underneath it there was old flowered wallpaper, then he began to uncover about 2 dozen colored-in coloring book pages pasted to the walls (and a few color children's themed magazine ads pasted to the walls). We'd uncovered a child's room frozen in time. We took a bunch of pictures and cut several of the colored-in pages out to save. When we started pulling down that layer of "wall" we discovered the wallpaper had been hung over cardboard. From the names of the businesses and some of the products, we figured out it was probably hung during the depression. One of the carboard boxes lining the wall was big and came from a funeral home.

We also discovered the photo negative of a little girl in her easter-best sitting on our front steps - probably about 1920's - under the subfloor. We had it cleaned and several prints made. In addition, we found some very small ladies riding boots and various other domestic things, like a checking acount statement from the 20's.

Anyway, my DMIL knew a person who was distantly related to the first owners of the house. She knew a woman in her 80's or 90's in a nursing home in a nearby city who used to live in our house with her grandmother. The timeframe was right that she could have been the girl who colored the pictures and/or was in the photo. So, we boxed up all the items we found, including the coloring book pictures and one of the printed photos and sent them to the old woman via her relative.

That's about the most interesting stuff we've found. In the beginning I used to be irritated about how long it took DH to de-construct things (he's big into recycling), when all those people on TV use sledgehammers and seemed to go so much faster. But, I've really come to respect his methods and now I think if we'd been using a sledgehammer we'd have never seen those coloring book pages intact...

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 4:16PM
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I have been putting in brick paths in my yard. I went to put in a brick path to the back corner of my lot...and there was already a brick path there, 3" below the grade. All I can guess is that the builder of the home (1889) put the path to the outhouse (my speculation, as it is where I would put an outhouse if there had to be one on the property as it's furthest from the home and upwind) and when they plumbed the home in 1904, they didn't need the path any in the past century, it grew over, and the cycle of leaves and soot and whatever makes dirt caused the path to become completely obscured. The thing is, the path goes EXACTLY to where I wanted it to (the door of the lean-to that was closed in much later, probably in the 1990's)'s very odd.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2011 at 10:28PM
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Hi. This is fun to read. I found a men's panama hat in the attic. Inside it says "1516 Chestnut Street Philadelphia", which is coincidental because I worked about a block away from that address. Toady that address is "Z Ladies Boutique".

In the garage were a bunch of horseshoes, which I nailed up on the walls. I just had my bathroom remodeled and the contractor found pieces of plaster between the walls that the builder was too lazy to haul away.

Other than that, I have found odds and ends around the edges of carpeting when I ripped it up.

When I remodeled the kitchen, I put a "time capsule" between some cabinets.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 4:48PM
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I love the idea of installing a time capsule when you remodel!

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 6:48PM
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We'd uncovered a child's room frozen in time.

A haunting image indeed! (My memories of a distant childhood are absent most tangible reminders, locked away in my brain--but bubbling up more and more as the years recede and the path ahead narrows....)

When Mom passed several years ago, I inherited a treasure trove of childhood pics I had never seen of her as a baby, young child and teen and of her mother as a baby at the turn of the 20th Century in the arms of my great grandmother.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 8:29PM
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The house I had before this one was a little creepier on what we found when we bought it. It had been abandoned for several years and the previous owners had evidently made tracks in the middle of the night, owing money. I found a hutch of petrified rabbits in an upstairs bedroom. God, you'd have thought they'd at least have let the poor creatures loose when they split. The basement was also full of canning jars, still filled and God knows how old. I hated to pitch the jars but wasn't going to mess with perhaps hundred of tainted bottles trying to empty them.

The weirdest part was I had been living there a few months, and something was striking me odd about the roof line of the house. Then it dawned on me there were two dormer windows visible from the outside, but no window in the same place on the inside. The previous occupants had boarded and paneled over the lovely plaster walls and I got curious enough to finally rip the paneling down and found them. I was almost afraid of what I'd find in closed off rooms, given the rabbit episode.

On the front side of the house there was a small dormer alcove under a curved arch. Boy, that lightened up the upstairs right away. Then the other two doors (one in each bedroom) revealed a small abandoned second floor bathroom, someone had finished off years ago where there was probably a walk-in closet over what would have been the back porch, but had been converted into a kitchen.

We found out later that the original owner of the little farmhouse built in 1890 had been sort of a local character. He couldn't read or write and legend had it he was a descendant of the few Indians who never left when the tribes moved west after the settlers had pushed into their territory. That area was and is still sort of wild, woolly and remote and used to be the site of many moonshine stills because of the rugged terrain and isolation.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2011 at 9:13PM
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Weird things and wierd goings on in this old house. After our basement was flooded about 2 years ago, my SO and I were tearing out the soaked paperboard walls (that the PO put up to clean and replace with drywall for damp locations), we found hidden in the wall an old boy scout hatchet.

Now that was weird enough. (why would anyone hide it in the wall?) but, when a friend, who has had long conversations with the ghost who haunts this house, was visiting, she was told by the ghost that the hatchet was used by some boys who used to live here to kill a cat and they hid it in the wall from their parents.

I have half a mind to test that tale and send it off to a lab to test for feline blood.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 3:00PM
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Boy, that Jennifer Love Hewitt sure gets around!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2011 at 4:02PM
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While digging out our cellar floor (only a 5 1/2 foot clearance), we found about 12 to 15 intact glass bottles and a grey 1 gallon jug, all intact. One of the bottles still has a cork in it with liquid inside. Look like some have names on them. Not sure if they are worth anything but sure would be nice. My 92 year old neighbor told me the people who lived in our house during prohibition used to make moonshine in the cellar. Used to be just dirt floor. She has lived 2 doors down since she was 8 years old.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 12:07AM
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We were gutting the kitchen of our 1926 house, and that involved stripping the cracked plaster and lath from the ceiling. Directly above the kitchen was the smallest bedroom. As the lath was coming down little things began to fall. Little wooden game pieces, checkers, dominos . . . and finally a small (empty) tin of "Saf-T-Way" condoms. I could just imagine a young man "growing up" in that bedroom. We put the condom tin in the medicine cabinet in the powder room -- thought it would amuse nosy guests.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:42AM
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Jakabedy, awesome find and awesome decision on what to do with it!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 11:16AM
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ashley_t, sprinkle a bit of flour across the bait mechanism of your mouse traps. Just a bit!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 7:17PM
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I love this thread!
My husband and I bought a 1914 home in Richmond, VA last summer. During the inspection we discovered (what we wbelieve to be) a giant, commercial-type boiler in the basement, complete with a coal chute. Based on its size, our best guess is that the house was built around it!

When cleaning out old heating ducts, we also found a bone (though we think it is from a rather large animal, not a human) and and old, old pair of Levis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Renovation Blog

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 8:59AM
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This is such a fun (and creepy at times) thread! My brother bought a house built around 1910 with a partial, unfinished basement. More of a root cellar, really. In the shallow area under the kitchen, he found a scythe. Not that unusual, except we wondered what they used it for living in the middle of town?

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 1:13AM
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Didn't have much to do with the age of this house, but one thing we found that was bothersome was a sliding bolt lock on the outside of a bedroom door.

Even more scary that the bedroom didn't have a window.

Uggh, who were they locking in there.....

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:58PM
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one thing we found that was bothersome was a sliding bolt lock on the outside of a bedroom door.

I've seen similar setups - bolts, hooks and eyes, passage locks turned round so the lock knob is on the outside of the door - several times in houses and duplexes I was looking at as possible rental properties. It really does make you wonder, doesn't it?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 11:30PM
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House: 1872 Brick, Orange County, NY. Built for a retired Civil War general. My family was the 4th or 5th owner. The current landlord is the 5th or 6th owner. The house accomodates a servants quarters taking up approximately 1/2 of the upstairs. The interior has high ceilings with detailed, sculpted wood moldings. There is a huge cemetery behind abutting the property and the old general is buried in a family plot in that same cemetery. What's very interesting is that the current landlord has the same birthday as the deceased general!

OK, here's what I have found on that property over the years.

-Newspapers from the late 1930's under the dusty carpeting in the attic. Upon pulling up the carpeting, I remember reading about Hitler's rise to power before we knew just what he was up to building the death camps, etc. And there was another article about a lost mountain climber somewhere.

-Fossilized potato: There was a garden behind the house which was an approximately 30' x 15' plot. I spent many hours in my yout digging and sifting through the dirt in that garden and found some interesting old things. One that stood out appeared to be a fully petrified potato, complete with eyes and ridges. It was literally like a rock, but had all the outward details of a typical American potato.

-Secret room: This room was not exactly secret as it has a window and can be seen from outside. But inside the existence of the room is misleading. Upstairs in the attic there is a trapdoor to a crawlspace which opens into a small room,. Inside this room is the furnace for the upstairs rooms. Behind the furnace is another trapdoor., You have to climb OVER the furnace to access it! But once you open the trap door you can exit into another secret room behind that wall. It's high enough to stand in and has two small windows. I think I remember finding a single empty cardboard box inside it.

-In one of the downstairs rooms there is a trapdoor in the floor which is difficult to find the outline of in the floor let alone get open. But one day I did open it and under it there was an earthen crawlspace with small piles of coal littering the floor.

-One day while pulling up a loose tongue-in-groove floorboard just to look out of curiosity, I found an old copy of a survey deed to the house, complete with descriptions of landmarks. I think it was dated around 1945 and was typed with an old mechanical typewriter.

-I tried for some time to figure out where the old outhouse had been. I read stories about treasure-hunters finding amazing things in the pits which were dug under old outhouses. I was never able to locate such a place in the yard and there seems to be no record or indication of an old outhouse.


    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 9:58AM
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Not weird ... several empty bottles from prohibition-era 'tonic" chucked behind a kitchen cabinet in a house of that era. Construction crew were drinking their lunch.

A children's lead canoe and Indian figure paddling it, found on a rafter in the basement of an 1880s house.

Newspapers stuffed around windows used as insulation in an early 1900s Montana house. We spent days flattening them out and reading them, then sent them to the historical society.

The winner: a Norfolk friend discovered a hidden tunnel between the houses on either side of his (his basement was too short!) ... some serious research uncovered that one house had been a bordello of the "album" kind (clients looked at photos and picked the girl they wanted) and the other was a rooming house for "young ladies".

The clincher was when we found an interview of the man who was the bouncer for the house during the early 1920s. He would go through the tunnel and notify the young lady that her services were needed, then escort her back through the tunnel to her client. And he remembered the street the house was on in sufficient detail to identify the houses as being the bordello and the rooming house.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2012 at 8:36PM
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In the attic, some miscellaneous curtain rods from the 50s, a photo of a man from the 30s (alas long since tossed), a double-breasted blue pinstriped suit from the 20s which fits me like it was made for me. A glass fenton? shade in beige-pink with clear balls around the outside edge--now hangs in my upper hall--probably where it was from originally since that fixture has three holes for chains/rods like the shade does.

In the basement, a geneological chart for the family of the house's fourth owner--last relative was in a seminary in the 60s.

In the garage, the six original raised panel cabinet doors from the kitchen--still with hinges! A length of baseboard, painted mint green saved when the kitchen was remodeled in the 70s. About ten tiles of various geometric patterns in a sort of minton pattern which match the neighbor's porch floor--the new owner has covered them over. Also, up in the rafters, a 'no parking' sign with post.

In the yard, a small shard of blue and white china, lots of slate fragments, either from the original install, or when the roof was replaced with asphalt shingles.

Daffodils and resurrection lilies growing to one side of the garage--still going strong after probably 90 years! Also, a foot-wide stump of a lilac on the other side of the garage, which had been cut down, but resprouted and is now about eight feet tall--nice pale violet flowers and great fragrance!

Some flower pots under the pantry in the dirt crawl space.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 12:03AM
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This is such an interesting thread to read. Here are some of the things we've found in our 1857 home:

- A very small child's leather lace up shoe inside a wall. I have heard this was sometimes done when a child died, though I don't know why that is.

- Harness racing advertising cards from 1900 and 1901. Each has a colored illustration of a (presumably) successful or famous harness horse on the front with its name, and the back is an advertisement for veterinary liniment or equine cough medicine. I'm a horse person so I was pretty excited when I found these.

- An old notebook that a child used to practice penmanship in, from the teens.

- 6 original doors with all their hardware in the loft of the barn. Only two doorways in the house are missing doors, so we are confused since the downstairs is only missing one door. The upstairs must have had a very convoluted original layout to have needed 5 extra doors on top of the 4 that are already up there!

- Old local newspapers from the 1940s. Not very interesting, but they must have meant something to the previous owners as they were carefully saved.

- A buggy wheel, with its wooden parts painted white and bright green.

- Some type of giant wooden calipers as big as I am with a very old fashioned-looking numerical font on them. I have no idea what these would have been used to measure but it must have been huge.

- Old bottles from the house next door, which used to be a bottling company. I have them on display in my laundry room, as some of the glass colors are really pretty.

- Various advertising cards from the early 1900s for then-local stores, some of which are right around the corner from the house.

- An old store ledger from the teens. I'm told the homeowner during that time owned a grocery shop around the corner, which has since been converted into a house.

- Two Victorian sink spigots and an ancient S trap that has a very fancy finial on it. If only I had the sink these belonged to!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2012 at 2:43PM
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My parents found a newspaper with the date of their wedding in the wall of an old cabin in the rocky mountains.

1 Like    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 2:17AM
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Marvin Forssander-Baird

Milkman list, ads and postcards that had slipped behind a cabinet in the 1920s, numerous runs of Victorian wallpaper behind partitions, an anti prohibition cartoon on newspapers used to cover some boards in the basement from 1919. Original 1880s doorknobs, and most recently, after three years of hiding in plain sight, I discovered the original 1885 door to my library repurposed in a closet in the back staircase. Just to think it only took me three years to notice the odd size of it when I was restoring the entrance hall from behind partitions.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2012 at 3:03AM
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Amazing finds, everyone!

Our most notable finds:

A tonic bottle

A corncob pipe

Some coins from the 20s (no value)

The usual bonanza of razor blades

And the most amazing find of all so far: a violin that was hanging between studs in an attic crawl space. I guess someone really didn't want to practice!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2012 at 12:38AM
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Fun thread! A mummified chicken in the rafters. A "Get to know a Cancer" novelty token in the front flower bed. A dozen or so Mrs. Butterworth's glass syrup bottles in the basement. A dozen or so bat carcasses in the attic.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:05AM
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Marvin Forssander-Baird

Oh, my neighbor would go nuts for those Mrs. Butterworth's bottles.

I found my share of dead animals in my house. Dead cat on the balcony in a box that I almost pulled out thinking it was a toy--miscellaneous dead squirrels and birds so long dead that they were completely flat. Ewwww.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Everytime I dig up a new garden bed I look for bones, but no such luck.
I live in a 100 year old cheese factory. the previous owners told me that it is originally insulated with broken china, garbage and everything you can image. I did tear one ceiling down and found all sorts of tins with the labels still on it, old cigarette packages, and one ladies lace up boot with the stocking in it.
When we gutted the upstairs, underneath the wallpaper were newspapers from the 1920s.
We did meet someone who said his grandfather was the cheesemaker there and his mother gave us a picture from the 1940s when she was a little girl and they were all dressed up to go to a wedding and standing in front of the cheese factory.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 2:47PM
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I found a red rider bb gun (alas I think it's not working) in the rafters of our basement in our 1932 farmhouse. Probably from the 50's/60's and was put up there when Jr. misbehaved.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Found inside a basement wall an intimate love letter from a single female in the military to a married male officer written in the early 1950s. When I mean intimate, I mean very intimate. It also detailed everyday life in the military in the 1950s. The man apparently lived in our house at the time. No envelope or last names. Fascinating to read, but my wife made me destroy it.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 5:59PM
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Civil war guns wrapped in an old rug. We were young and poor, and my husband sold them for about $50 apiece.
Fast forward to many years later. Now divorced, I had roommates living with me to help me afford to stay in my house. I come home one night and my roomie is watching a new show called Antiques Roadshow. He calls me over to "check out this cool, new show." One of the first things they show is a civil war gun. Yup. Worth THOUSANDS.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 9:52PM
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I was hoping to find some great things but nothing significant so far. The previous owner had pictures of the house (1880's), the original owner (built the house in 1825) and original owner on his 100th b-day on the back porch so those pictures were part of our purchase and sale agreement.

When remodeling the bathroom I think we found the original wallpaper). There was 2 layers behind the old water pipes. The house got city water/sewer in 1877 and our plumber said our pipes were much older than that - probably 1850's - 1860s. He thought there was a cistern in the attic and the servants brought the water up for the gravity fed toilet. So the 2 layers of wall paper were before that time. I will probably frame it.

The previous owner lived here 50+ years and his son buried a time capsule under the outdoor oven. It's coming down this summer and the son will bring his grandkids to dig up the time capsule. We put in a time capsule under the stairs.

Anytime my contractor had to take out wood and there were square nails, he saved them for me. I'll eventually make some type of sculpture.

applesandshanana - we have two working old potbelly boilers in our 1929 2 family. It was originally coal, then oil but now gas. They still work and almost never any issues (OK - maybe once in 10 years I have to call the plumber LOL) but extremely inefficient. My tenants have to manually fill them. They don't make boilers like that anymore!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 10:42AM
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This is such a fun thread!
We have a 1912 craftsman home. We're the third family in the home, and one of our neighbors has filled us in on lots of history (she's 78 and has always known the families here).
-cistern in basement with a pump, the inspectors have all been really excited about this
-we purchased in Dec (in WI), and in the spring we found a headstone in the backyard. We're told by a neighbor that the headstone was moved from the actual burial site for some reason.
-a fragment of china with the mark that we read to find was a piece of Johnson Bros white granite, and the mark was used on pieces from 1883-1913
- three original base cabinets for the kitchen are in the garage. I was kind of excited about trying to use them again until realizing the mice liked the garage. Now even with the mice gone, I have a really hard time thinking about bringing them into the kitchen!
- this wasn't so much a find, but with the sale we received keys for all the interior doors and a folder of the history of the property. And again, not really a find, but it's fun to see the previous paint/wallpaper and door/window placement as we're remodeling. In most cases, our changes are closer to the original even before we knew what the original was. It doesn't seem so odd with layout, like we talked about opening a wall and after breaking through teh dropped ceiling, found there used to be a door there, so of course we had to open it again! The similarity in paint colors does surprise me, though.
-In the yard, we planted some plum trees in the back, and the neighbor told us there used to be plum trees there (in the same place! on an acre, so there's more than one place for the two trees), but the previous owner pulled them out because the deer would just attack them. Also the previous owner's mother lived here and kept the gardens, so we've found stone steps down to a creek(now more of a ditch).
- an old breadbox and 1936 GE icebox in the basement

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:52PM
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My house was originally a church parsonage. We bought it 19 years ago from the church. It was built by the congregation with oversight by "supposedly" a professional contractor. I think the contractor was a crackpot or drunk! Every time I start a project I find the most bizarre way things were built. My dad IS a professional developer/ custom home builder. He just laughs at how people cobbled this house together!

In the attic I found pew bullitens from the 1950's (house was built in 1954 - same year the church was built). I found the original wide Venetial blinds for the living room and dining room windows in the attic, too but they were too gross to use after being up there for decades. I've found bee hives in the walls, a wasp nest in the ceiling. The front sidewalk has a tiny baby hand and foot print in it. The "baby" stopped to see me one day while I was working in the front yard. Her father was the original minister and her family moved into the house when she was a baby. I've met 3 other people in the last 19 yeras that I've owned the house whose fathers where the minister & they lived in the house growing up. They told me stories of church picnics in the back yard, complete with pony rides, Bible study classes in the basement, one of the minister's wives who insisted on wearing heels 24/7, climing ladders in heels and gardening in heels.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:30PM
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I had great hopes of finding many interesting things in my 1919 home, but have found very little. We believe they renovated in the 1970s when the remodeled the kitchen/1st floor bathroom and added a staircase and upstairs to what was previously merely an attic. They also used seemingly little thought before adding the addition since there are other layouts that would have utilized space better. Oh well.

I found some baseball cards from the early 1990s in the attic; the previous owners (who inherited the house from their parents) have a child currently in college. There were also newspaper articles from the same period.

The most interesting piece was a newspaper from the 1950s that I found propping up a shelf in a closet. It was mostly advertisements. It was cool to see the 50s cars and they advertising techniques used then. There was also an add for night school at the University of Cincinnati.

I have to get the rest of my fix by purchasing period appropriate pieces from estate sales.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:57AM
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I was doing a plumbing job in an old one story 2br house over a dark, damp basement with stone walls and a dirt floor in W.PA. As I pushed a piece of copper pipe over a heavy 6x8 beam in the cellar a book fell down. Out of curiosity I picked the book up to see what it was and discovered it was a hardcover ledger book with about 200pages that had been used as a personal diary in 1901 & 1902. I thought that might prove to be interesting reading so I took it home and began reading it that night. Most of the book was about the mundane day to day life of a young man who worked as a stock clerk in the local hardware store but to my total suprise, he was also a petty thief, and he had recorded all of the house breakins and what he had taken from each house. As I read on it said that in July, September and December of 1901 he had been caught in a house and he shot and killed the ppl who caught him.

By this time I was beginning to think that maybe it was just somebody living a boring life and making up tales for the diary.

One morning I happened to be sitting in our local coffee shop and our illustrious chief of police came in. We got to talking and I happened to tell him about the book, so he asked if he could read it when I was done, to which I agreed.

About two months later the chief came to my house to return the book and he says, "It wasn't a fool kid making up stories. All three of those murders were still on the books as unsolved cold cases, not to mention a couple dozen thefts & breakins that were never resolved."

The guy who wrote the book had put his name on the front cover page so they now knew who committed the crimes. At 80yrs old, he died of natural causes in 1965 so their was no further action required, but they had to turn the book over to the prosecutors office to prepare documentation which had to be signed off by a judge so they could close the case files.

Now what kind of an idiot takes up a life of crime and keeps a diary? Even more to the point, I wonder how many other diaries are out there somewhere?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Wow, great story, lazypup! Any newspaper stories?

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 9:10AM
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My husband found a substantial diamond in our attic. Since it was not ours, we called the former owner who said it must have belonged to her deceased daughter. We gave it to her.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 8:52PM
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We have an addition on that back of our house, the size of a bedroom. We have to go out onto the back porch to get in there, as that is where the only door is. The walls and ceiling are not plaster or even drywall (we think it was added in the 30's). Its more like a really dense cardboardish kind of material. Anyway, we decided to pull the walls off and ceiling to drywall it. And in the ceiling was a complete 3/4 heavily carved bed. Had everything to it, massive tall headboard, footboard, and rails. Political fliers, a whole big stack of them for someone running for local school board, and someone running for office in Cleveland. It was odd, why would anyone seal up a bed and political items in a ceiling??

I was digging up an area next to the back porch to plant shrubs. I dug up a bone, a long bone. To long for a pig, dog, sheep, etc. Our neighbor was a nurse so I asked her. She said she thought it was a tibia or femur and couldn't say that for sure if it was human or animal. And to perhaps call the police if we found more bones. I set it in the garage, but that week, DH put it in the trash and it was taken on trash day. He said human or animal, it's gross and doesn't want it around. Me being the more curios one dug further down in that same spot and hit cement. It was down about a 18" and I couldn't break through it. Perhaps this spring I will dig more and have my oldest son help me break through and find out why the cement is there. There is an old cistern, about 10 feet away and an abandoned well by the garage. It may have something do do with either one of those.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 3:00PM
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Our home is a 1915 Craftsman bungalow. Over the years, we've made some interesting discoveries.
-During our first winter here, we noticed that the snow always melted in a perfect circle in the middle of the flagstone patio adjoining the house. The following summer we discovered a cistern under the patio, with a round metal lid. Mystery solved! We use the cistern water (with the aid of a pump in the basement) to water the lawn and replenish the fish pond.
-Inside one of the built-in bookcases flanking the fireplace is a small hidden door that opens when tapped, revealing a cavity that extends behind the masonry front of the fireplace.
-There is another hidden compartment in a basement room that we've been told was used as a hiding place for liquor during Prohibition.
-Several years ago, a gentleman came to our door and introduced himself as the youngest child of the original owners of the home. He grew up in the house and has shared many stories with us, and has given us several early photos of the house and yard.
-One of the photos shows his family posed in front of the fireplace, which has a large mirror over it. We had always known that something had been removed from the mantel, but thought it was probably some kind of molding. After seeing the photo, I realized that what we had thought was part of a mirrored door attached to a basement wall was actually the missing mirror. We had the red (!) paint stripped from the frame and restored the mirror to its rightful place on the mantel. We framed the photo and it now has a place of honor next to the fireplace.
-Since our first summer in the house, I have wanted a wooden arbor in the back yard. Photos of the long-ago yard show one exactly where I wanted to place one.
-We have long wondered about a large circular patch in the cement basement floor, and were amazed when we were told that it had once been a cement-lined hole that was filled with ice in the summer for cooling beer!

I love hearing about everyone's old house finds!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Our house was built up on tree stumps in the teens.....
I think at one time it was farm land.......I found glass,glass,more glass,coal,rusted nails,a glass bottle with a Collie on it,2 plow heads,a horse shoe,rusted door knob,baby diapers,a cap gun,an Empire State building souvenir,a few old wooden spindles,an old rusted tire tool,a yo yo,a wooden domino,and a few rotten playing cards....
At a house around the corner it was a tragedy....
The house was built in 1892 and the old man had owned it since the 1920s.....Over the years,he ruined it with cheap remodels....The house had only 4 rooms when it was built....
Even the bathroom wasnt original....The old man had added on flat roofed addons and yellow aluminum siding....
He died and his son in law redid it.....
I was hired to help friends of his redo it.......We tore off the sheetrock to find 18 holes in the wall where rodents had nested in there....It was originally plaster and lathe....
And he lowered the ceilings and sheetrocked it in the 40s......
When we ripped out the old cielings I was amazed.....the old wallpaper was still on the cielings and the trim wallpaper....
I could see a timeline....A beautiful Gothic Rose paper was first,then an Art Nouveau floral,a tacky Art Deco,and then a late 30s crappy one.....And a beautiful floral trim paper....
When the old screened in porch was taken out,an old condom tin was found with decaying condoms in it!
When the siding was taken off the side,there was a date in pencil of July 13 1892 under it.....
Sadly the house was covered in gray aluminum siding,a red metal roof,and ugly cedar posts...It looked like a barbeque shack.....

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 6:17PM
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wow everyone has such interesting finds!

My husband and I just moved into a house built in 1937; it's a small 2 bedroom 1 bath bungalow style house. The lady that owned it bought it in 2006 but hasn't lived here much (she stays at her boyfriends house). We were excited to see what we could find since quite a bit of things were left lying around.
In the garage/shop I found the usual;
-old square nails
-really old flat head screw driver
-old newspapers hung on the wall. (I decided to leave them there)
- Behind a lot of junk we've found 2 doors into the garage that have been closed over. One is right next to the door that enters to the shop it's boarded over but still has a door knob in plain sight, I don't know how I missed it at first! It has glass on the inside but some has been broken out. The second door is through the garage between two windows but has been built over with wood but you can still see the outline where it was.
-We also found a hayloft door to throw out hay. We think that it was originally just the shop that they had some hay in and when they added the garage onto it the sealed it up. Even though the shop doesn't have any way of getting up to the hayloft door. All that is up there is some old rafters that don't look like you could walk on.
-and probably the greatest thing in the shop is the old wood burning heater. It looks like it was left in the shop for heating during the winter but the ventilation system has been torn out and you can still see up at the top of the ceiling whats left over from the chimney that they didn't rip out. It's a shame it's gone it would be nice to have it for this winter out there. The old ash scooper pan is still sitting on top of it too.

As for outside the house; I haven't done a lot of yard work yet since it's the end of summer and I've been busy inside; but with the basic cleaning and mowing and raking I've found...
-An old path around the back of the garage that was once cement but has been broken up but still has these old pieces of glass inside of the cement. I think the glass was used as decoration since it's all really pretty. The pieces I've been able to save I've put into a mason jar and put in the bathroom.
- The first creepy thing I've found was when we were trimming back around the trees wrapped up in the branches and brush was an old "police line do not cross" tape. It was only about a foot long and I can't tell how old it is since it's torn and muddy or if it even was used on our property

Inside the house I've found a plethora of things.
-In the attic we found the remains of a chimney and figured out where it was on the main level. It must have been covered when one of the previous owners remodeled the kitchen/ dinning room.
-the basement has a lot of pieces of history, there is a coal shoot door in a backroom that has been sealed shut and probably won't even be able to be opened again. We also found it on the outside of the house behind a bush.
-There were some old newspapers lining a shelf from the 80's not really anything interesting on them.
-We also found a toilet that is hooked up to work and everything but is so nasty and filled with something gross ( I don't even want to know what) that we haven't messed with it. The toilet was kind of hidden in plain sight also. It was enclosed in what kind of looks like something you would find around a public restroom; except it was made of wood. It was something that we saw but didn't think to look into, until one day I realized I was looking at a door.
-Next to the toilet hanging from the wooden toilet enclosure on the outside are two medicine cabinets. It looks like something a man used to shave while he was down there.
- In the basement "bedroom" it's not really a bedroom it's small and creepy but I think at one time it was used for a childrens room since the walls are painted pink and in a hole in the wall we found some small toys. Including an old whiffle ball. The room has an opening that goes to the crawl space behind the stairs. I haven't gone back there yet (It's still full of spider webs and dead spiders) but I'll have to see if I can find anything interesting.
- If you keep going through the opening in the wall you get to the other side of the stairs and it looks like this was once a room also but the wall has been torn down. This room has some hooks hanging on a wall and on a shelf above the hooks is a picture of the virgin mary. It sort of looks set up like a shrine. There is also a bamboo rolled up screen next to the picture of Mary. These were popular in Asian cultures and usually had a picture printed on them. I haven't looked at what is on it because there is also a veil of spider webs covering the picture and bamboo screen. (If you can't tell I'm petrified of spiders) so until my husband gets down there to clean it up, it will remain a mystery. (the only reason I know that it is a bamboo screen is because my great aunt is from Korea and has a bunch of these around her house)
- There is also a huge old oil container down there. My grandpa stopped by and said it looks like the house was first heated with coal, then oil, and now has electric heat. Since this container is so big I think they decided it would be too much work to try to move it out when they switched to a newer heating system. I've tapped on the metal oil container and it sounds like there might be some oil still in it.
-The creepiest thing I've discovered in my basement is the word Jesus written on paper and taped above all the windows in the basement. I can't figure out why anyone would do this. It is probably the same person who had the Virgin Mary picture. It looks like it is really old and the masking tape is yellow and brittle. I don't dare take it down tho. I'm not religious or anything but someone put it up for a reason and I don't want to know what that reason was.
Has anyone else seen this or heard about this in another house? Maybe it is a tradition from long ago I don't know about? I was trying to research it when I came across this thread. So if anyone knows anything please feel free to contact me so I can maybe sleep better at night?

-Also around the entire property I've found numbers that don't seem to mean anything written all around the house garage and shop. It's in our closet written on the shelf, on the walls in the attic, all over the shop, and in the basement. My theory is that it was man (or a very tall women since some of the places are a good 6 and half feet from the ground) was working around the house and wrote numbers that meant something to him, maybe for building purposes, wherever he could find a place to write them.

That about sums up what I've found thus far. We've only been here for a little over a month so hopefully my discoveries will continue. :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 2:30PM
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Re the basement stall toilet, those are normal in houses built in the early 20th century, though '37 is a bit late for one. The idea was that workmen or servants shouldn't use the family toilet. Ours is perfectly usable (boy does it work great!) and gets occasional family use, though the bowl seems uncleanable!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 10:46PM
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This amongst MANY other things were buried in walls of my parents home. My dad started renovating and found this wooden toy gun, what seems to be a wooden Drill trifle, a negative or maybe the actual pic of the first owner of the house, a baby girls shoes, a real gun, BONES! That were determined to be of a dog, a real gun that the cops took... A lock, diary in polish language, a book where the lady kept track of her purchases, letters going back and fourth to her husband who was at a war, and yellow fever medicine. One never opened. Back in those days (which I believe early 1800s) they believed that if they buried something personal that these things would always make sure that the home would be protected. Also that these things would allow the persons spirit to always be there. kinda creepy I know ... I will be pictures of newspaper clippings I also found in another home we used to own under piles and piles of flooring.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Here is one part of a Sunday Newspaper dated November 26, 1950

Another article buried under piles of flooring for insulation in old home... This article was about a card game that became addictive called Canasta. Apparently no one knew it existed a few years before.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:45PM
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Part 2 of the Canasta article

The other part of the Canasta game article was about the duke and duchess of sutherland who were so into the game that burglars just walked out with the jewels. Oops. Lol.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:48PM
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..and last post for the day was another article from the Sunday News dated November 26, 1950

Used as insulation under layers and layers of floor were these pages of a Sunday Newspaper on November 26, 1950. News coverage- Nellie names her son Howie after a traveling salesman who she planned to sue for a paternity test in Providence, Long Island.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 9:50PM
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I had always heard rumors that my grandparent's house was haunted. It was a very small town (400 or so) and when I would go to visit none of the kids would play with me once they found out where I was staying. I don't know if it was a subconscious reaction or gut feeling but I always hated the basement hallway that led to the bathroom and two bedrooms. If I had to cross it I ran as fast as I could. Years later I found out, while visiting the town museum, that my grandparent's house was built on an ancient Native American burial ground. In exchange for not seizing their land my grandparents agreed to turn over any remains they found to the Native American Historical Society. The exhibit included several skulls and skeletons, some jewelry, crude weapons, and the full skeleton of a baby wrapped in leather. The exhibit also explained that when there were heavy rains bones would begin to work their way out of the slope that divided their property from the road. Upon asking my grandparents about all this I found out some very interesting things.

-The baby was found in the corner of the property in a very shallow grave while my grandmother was planting flowers.

- The eery feeling I got in the basement hallway was felt by nearly everyone that entered the house.

- My uncle was suspended as a child from school for bringing in human bones for show and tell.

- There is a spot in the yard where nothing will grow. Not even weeds. A Native American Elder claimes it is the grave of a diseased tribe member who was killed and burned for fear that he would infect the tribe.

I am not saying I believe the house is haunted. But it certainly was a strange place to visit.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2013 at 8:22PM
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Hello....Enjoyed reading all the weird things...Found this thread by researching...TRYING to find out if anyone can tell me what would be behind this in an old house I live in ...

Ok so under an addition that was built probably around (guessing here ) ..maybe 1910-1930...ON the dirt near an old half broken down dry cistern...Under the floor in the crawlspace I found 4 very large OLD Portraits that I believe
were of the Original Family of the house.

They were just laying there ON TOP of the dirt fanned out and they are in 99.9 % perfect condition surprisingly. There is a family portrait showing 4 people... the father, the mother, a little girl, and another male quite a bit older then the little girl. This male is the only one that there was NO Separate/Single Portrait of in the collection.hmmmmm.

Plus, only one has a name on the back of the it, obviously the Head of the family...The father... The family name is very historical going back to the earlier settlers of the village.

I have my ideas on why they were there but can't find any answers if I could be right ...So I am asking what , if anyone knows, WHY these would be just laying there under the house on the dirt. Was there some weird ritual or something back in the early 19th century of doing this?? It is driving me crazy!!

As for other weird things I found so far have included about 100 plastic margarine tubs in a box WITH LIDS lol....12 coffee cans FILLED with approx. 10"-18" POSTAL strings, (one owner was the postmaster of the village PO) , in a box of very detailed boney carcass of an UNHATCHED bird just laying there, in a box, no egg shell LOL ..ewwwww, a few old NEW Tupperware items from the 50's...mannnnny old magazines, newspaper clippings and tv guides from back in the 60-80's , some paper mason and eastern star stuff, all in the attic...Thanks lol I had to haul it all out of there lol.

In the yard so far only real interesting thing was a very old antique lock ...rusted half away but cool anyhow...but I couldn't believe down under weeds and dirt I found a very old newspaper only partially rotted away dated 1952 ! wow can you imagine if that was about 6 inches in the ground still hangin in there able to be read after 60 years what PLASTIC water bottles will be like ??? or diapers yikes !!!!!

Thanks for any comments !!!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:06AM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

AngelWings2900, I would search on for that family. You can do the two week free membership there and then cancel on the 14th day. In your case I would go straight to the family trees and see if someone has the family intact. They may also have stories and documents about each person. You might find some real good gossip! There is also the option to send a message to the tree owner and they can contact you through ancestry if they want. Hint: if you find someone that you want to correspond with, give them an alternate address because once your free subscription expires you won't have access to ancestry email. I THINK you will be able to use one of their previous messages to email back but don't count on it.

I know if they were my relatives I would love to have the pictures or at least copies. And there might be a story. I've certainly pieced together plenty of stuff about my ancestors.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:00PM
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I found this 19th Century Coca Cola bottle under a house I was working on in Wilmington NC. It doesn't have a scratch on it. I figure it was left there while the house was being built. The lettering on the bottle says New Bern NC.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2014 at 2:10PM
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shuffles, you might check to see if coke reissued "old bottles" a few years back as my friend had 2 of them sitting on her kitchen counter about 15 yrs ago or maybe less. They were pretty much straight up & down, I asked & they were some special promotion or something & had been filled with coke & she was going to keep the bottles Not saying yours is 1 of those but check into it.. Anyone finding area where nothing will grow in back yard- might mean that someone used that spot to get rid of motor oil nothing will grow. I know, we did it just once in 1 spot & 40 yrs later nothing will grow , Could be some other chemical or acid ,lye etc. Lot of stuff we wouldn't dream of using today was used & dumped back then.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 12:25AM
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I was once looking around an old house and found a ton of photographs belonged to the previous owners- every single face was blurred, in all of the photographs. The faces were the only blurred parts. Spooky.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 6:19AM
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Does anyone on the forum know what this is? Found it in a older home we are remodeling. It is in the front next to the garage door. Is about 4 feet deep with a lid. Curiosity is killing me.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2015 at 12:31AM
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A cistern?


    Bookmark   February 6, 2015 at 1:39AM
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I think the strangest thing we've found was this wine press. it wasn't exactly hard to find though, as it is cemented into the floor of the basement. We recently met an 83 year old woman whose grandparents owned our house from 1918-1943, she said she remembered her grandmother making wine and root beer in the cellar.

I think the most exciting things we've found are the original shutters from the house. It was built in 1885 in an Eastlake Victorian style and the shutters still have all of their Eastlake latches and hardware. They were found tucked away in a hard to reach corner of the attic.

We've found a few other things along the way too. You can check out our blog here:

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 10:49AM
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I've enjoyed looking at the finds posted here. We have a c.1729 farmhouse and have a re-used beam that we are trying to research. We also have some potential 'protection' markings that are interesting. See picture or check out the site:

    Bookmark   February 15, 2015 at 7:16PM
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My husband and I just bought a home that we plan to move into after renovating the kitchen. While my husband was ripping the cabinets out the other day, he found this thing tucked way at the back:

I want to believe it is just some creepy toy (??) but the part of me that has seen too many horror movies wants to sell the house and stay nice and safe where we are currently! If anyone recognizes this figurine from a game or a book they've read, or anything really, please let me know!

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 2:07PM
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We bought our house 35 years ago, with the contents in it. The previous owner was in her late 80's, had been in this 1915 house since 1918, bedridden, and going to a nursing home, so there was a lot of stuff.

No surprises but when we took up the original kitchen floor, the first year of purchase, they had patched a hole in the subfloor (what we call it now, then ?) with a flattened old motor oil can.

5-6 years ago we took up a baseboard in what used to be the dining room. The guy who did the carpentry originally, signed the back or the board. It's still there, we put the board


We know who did the carpentry because we lived next to his grand-nephew.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2015 at 9:20AM
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Skywatcher Zone 7a

Mvaghy13, you found a figurine from the Kasli iron factory in Russia. I googled "black iron devil figurine" and saw many like yours.

Worthpoint had this info:

"The following is a little information on the Kasli iron works.

The town is situated on the eastern slope of the Middle Urals, among the lakes Bolshiye and Malye Kasli, Irtyash, Sungul, and Kirety. The Kasli plant became famous for its cast-iron castings in the middle of the 19th century. In 1900 an open-work pavilion was moulded from metal for the international exhibition. It is now exhibited in the Ekaterinburg picture gallery. The art of iron figures making have made Kasli factory well known all over the world. Many of world wide known historical artistic sculptures and figures at Moscow and Petersburg - and even iron made furniture at winter palace - was produced at Kasli factory."

Ebay had a listing which sold 35 new ones for around $40-$45. Maybe the factory still makes them.

Perhaps the former occupant received it as a gift, didn't care for it and stuck it out of sight?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2015 at 5:10PM
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Good catch on that iron devil thingy!

The funniest thing we ever found in our 1905 Queen Anne Victorian house was not an artifact. It was a leak. In the early 1930s an extension was built onto part of the back of the third story of our house. We know all about it, because the house has been in my DH's family since it was purchased new in 1905 by his great grandfather. Anyway, they expanded the main bathroom, added an artist studio, and of course extended the roof. Well, fast forward to about 15 years ago. A leak appeared in the ceiling of the third story (first story is a ground level basement). My husband (thank goodness!) is a contractor, so he investigated it, starting in the attic above that ceiling. He came down laughing so hard he could hardly stand up. It turns out that when they extended the roof line, THEY DID NOT CHANGE THE RAIN GUTTER! So, the original rain gutter (wooden) was still intact, running now through the attic! The outside parts of the gutter system on the parts of the house which were not changed just keeps going, as original, right through the attic, and out again! Of course, after 95 years the wood finally rotted and it started to leak into the attic....

Family came over from Germany in the 1870s. Very, very thrifty. My DH thinks someone looked at it and figured that the gutter was perfectly fine, so why not leave it? And it was, for another 80 years. We don't mind the attitude - it is why we still have our old house (they did not like to divest real estate, and kept it as a rental after my DH's grandparents died), and we were able to purchase it from his father and aunts.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2015 at 9:39AM
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@John, maybe it's some kind of dog poo composter?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2015 at 6:30AM
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